Terrouge E-zine Archives
Enthusiastic Monthly Exhortation
Whatever else you say about him you have to admit that Brian Jacques writes really good feast scenes. There's more food than even he can name, and it's as varied as, well, the Redwall Online Community(ROC) itself! I have to say I'm pretty happy with the variety of sites in the ROC these days. In each feast you have the foods that have always been there-deeper'n'ever pie, strawberry cordial, and good crisp bread. You also have foods that appear only from time to time, or unique creations which could have been created by one chef and one chef alone. In the ROC today you have powerful stayers like Redwall.org, Rw-club.org, Martin's Long Patrol, and Terrouge, and you also have unique and flavorful sites like Fur Future and Redwall Warlords.
Yet as varied and satisfying as the ROC is, I can't help but look out there and see the possibility for new and better sites. I did this last year, and was happy to find that some of the sites I suggested were existent, merely languishing in anonymity. If I mention a site that is existent, please stop by the Terrouge Forums and kindly correct me. Maybe we can even do a site review for it!
I must begin by begging once again for a neutral meeting place for ROC members to find other members of the ROC to incorporate into their history. Long ago, there was a Redwall Romance site where ROC members could find other ROC members to roleplay their significant other. Unfortunately, the bankruptcy of their message board provider killed this site several years ago, yet it showed the possibilities inherent. Some used the board to find someone to roleplay their character's husband or boyfriend at a particular club, but others used it to find siblings, or nemeses! You can write your own rival, of course, but it's not nearly so much fun. And when you actually dislike the other person, the rivalry can end up becoming quite stressful. But suppose you could find someone willing to pretend to be your character's nemesis? Your competition would be false and therefore fun. I propose a site, named something like "Redwall Connections" that had different areas for roleplayers and club members to meet. Find the Mariel to your Dandin, the Skarlath to your Sunflash, and the Cluny to your Matthias!
However, this brings me to my second request. ROC artists used to use the Redwall Romance Boards to advertise their skills. Those in need of a character portrait could usually find someone to do it there. Many members of the ROC actually have surprisingly good art skills… but where can they show them off? Many clubs have art sections, but that's all that it is. The RFF is entirely devoted to Redwall Fanfiction, but where is the site for Redwall Fanart? Those in search of critique and feedback are sadly out of luck. They are often forced to join fantasy art galleries, like Elfwood, to find hosting. Yerf.com houses the ultimate in furry art… but this site is of little help to developing artists because you must be stellar before you are let in. Where do you become stellar? The only other furry art galleries have sadly low standards when it comes to decency, and most Redwall artists don't enjoy posting there. Few of the would-be fans will see any Redwall art hosted there, as they would have to wade through miles of off-putting trash to get there. A furry art board with decency standards, but open to all, would be a terrific boon, not only to the Redwall Online Community but to the internet at large.
Something the ROC has long needed is a comprehensive newbie orientation site. Many sites have their own rules section, but it doesn't really help a new member of the ROC becomes skilled at or aware of anything beyond that site. I am happy to announce that Snowspine has recently begun the creation of the ROC University, located here. Only two sections are complete as I write this, but she is working hard and the content is worthwhile even if limited only to what it has. If you're new to the ROC, you might want to stop by-it'll give you a much better idea of how things work around here. If you're a longstanding veteran, bookmark it anyway and pass the link along instead of retyping those same old explanations.
These three sites fill spots in the ROC where there is a demand, but that doesn't mean they're the only sites that would become well-loved or would be unique. A good technique for generating unique concepts is thinking of things that the real world has-and the ROC doesn't. Like, say, department stores. Everyone loves looking their best, but it's hard for people in the ROC to get a good character portrait done fast and well. An artist with decent skill could design some image-pieces that fit together, almost like paper dolls. Voila! Instant character portraits for all ROC members! With a little bit of coding skill, the artist could even let people mix and match outfits and character bodies online with a flash program. This concept would lead to an instant blast of popularity if the artist left the words "Free Character Portraits," his or her name and website address at the bottom of each image. Along the same lines, no one sells real estate on the ROC. I don't think anyone would buy internet 'land,' but what if you gave it away by creating a character directory of interested ROC members, indexed by name, living area, or name? If ROCers could update their entries, it might help old friends keep track of each other. Clubs, of course, have long been done, but I've never heard of, say, a club focused on a bunch of spying foxes. Rather than doing activities at that club to gain rank, members would try collect information from other clubs for points. All roleplay, my friends! I'm certainly not suggesting trying to guess club leaders' passwords or anything.
You have to understand, the ideas I tossed off in the last paragraph were pondered for all of fifteen minutes. A half hour, at most. If one person can come up with three decent new ideas in a half hour, what could someone who was really brainstorming come up with? I'm sure that there are better ideas out there, but you are welcome to use any of mine if you like them-though I'd be very disappointed if you couldn't at least improve on them a little.
Quality, content, and originality are the three most important factors to creating a successful site, especially in a community like the ROC. If you think you've pulled it off, give us an e-mail (at email@example.com) in a few months and we'll try to give you some publicity. Best of luck!